Should you trust a ukulele review?

Dan Uke

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Price is very important. When I look at a uke, I look at what are my other options (opportunity cost) in that price range. I personally like custom ukes. Assuming that all ukes sounds good, I look at what kind of finish. If it's truoil or something similar, I discount the uke as it takes a lot of time and skill to get a nice nitro finish. I look at purflings and bindings: is the fretboard bound, do they put purflings on both sides of the binding, do the miters connect with the end-graft, etc. All of these things add time to the luthier. I can get a plain custom but I expect the cost of that custom to be cheaper.

One thing that I really appreciate is if the uke is made by one person vs. several or lasers / machines. I personally feel really connected to the luthier knowing that this person put all his effort making this instrument for me. It's been mentioned before but you do build a relationship with the luthier when you get a custom.
 

johnson430

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John,
You bring up some valid points and I agree with what you are saying.
The part I quoted is most important to me and what I was trying to bring to light in a previous thread I started back in April that got many feathers ruffled about the price of custom ukes.

For example:
You buy a Corolla to drive, You buy a Lexus to drive. They both fulfill their primary purpose for production but one looks a heck of a lot better doing it.
That is the same standard we should have towards ukes ,or more importantly, high end ukes. The primary purpose of a uke is to make music. Right?
Regardless of the bulder, we should only seek the highest integrity of build quality and sound quality for a high end uke.
If not, then perhaps that uke's purpose becomes a means to warm the luthier during cold months while the luthier crafts an instrument that performs the primary purpose to the fullest.

But it is still a ukulele with a soundboard, braces, back & sides, neck, frets, etc that have been expertly pieced together. And that is where the magic is. How well a builder can put the pieces together is what produces the sound and transforms it from a work of art. The price paid reflects these extras that for some do not enhance the musical experience. If you strip them away, what really matters is what is left.

John
 
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haole

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I trust that the reviewer is being honest about his or her particular instrument (unless it's a thinly-veiled ad). But I don't go by reviews when buying. Adjectives about the sound, feel, etc don't mean anything to me (one person's "warm" is another person's "bright"), and sound samples are honestly pretty useless because there are too many variables. Even the objective info like nut width, string spacing, bracing pattern, etc isn't going to make a difference in my decision. If I like it, I like it. If you can play it first, play it and judge from there. If you can't, take a chance.
 

hollisdwyer

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So we seem to agree that:
1. Reviews are subjective and therefore should be irrelevant on our purchasing decisions.
1.1 Reviews from people we know/trust have some level of resonance with us and do impact on our purchasing decisions.
2 Sound samples have too many variables and therefore should be/are irrelevant on our purchasing decisions.
3.Reviews should include the price paid to provide a better context for the comments made regarding the various attributes of the instrument (sound, play-ability, finish, optional upgrades, etc.).
4.The usefulness of pockets on underpants is only limited by our imagination.
 

JustinJ

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I agree with your statements John. Bling is pretty and nice to have. But it is the construction and the wood that make the difference. If it's all bling and no sing, I would not want it.

I remember seeing a video of Steve Grimes building a guitar. I can not find it right now He was tapping the wood, listening intently, and then removing a little more wood off the top. He then proceeded to do it a again. It was fascinating to watch.


But it is still a ukulele with a soundboard, braces, back & sides, neck, frets, etc that have been expertly pieced together. And that is where the magic is. How well a builder can put the pieces together is what produces the sound and transforms it from a work of art. The price paid reflects these extras that for some do not enhance the musical experience. If you strip them away, what really matters is what is left. But if a significant portion of what is spent on the ukulele are the extras, then it is important that they are done well and a review should point them out.


John
 

RichM

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I just buy ukes that I like. Y'all make this so complicated!
 

JustinJ

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Hi Rich,

Do you just order the uke online or play one in the person before buying it? What is your criteria for liking it?

I just buy ukes that I like. Y'all make this so complicated!
 
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